“Before the earthquake struck, we heard wolves howling. I was in our barn, and could not escape. The chimneys of our new house next door crashed to the ground,” Regional Housing Programme beneficiary Mirela Božurić, from Petrinja, Croatia, vividly recalls the moment that her region was struck by a 6.2-magnitude earthquake, in December 2020. That night, Mirela and her family, convinced that they would not survive, restorted to sleeping in their car, which rocked on the unstable ground like a boat on waves.The Božurić family are no strangers to difficult conditions. “We lived in this old house in Petrinja, Croatia, before fleeing to Stari Farkušić as internally displaced persons in 1992,” says Mirela. “My father was in the army, and my grandmother was wounded during the war.” In 1996, they returned to their property in Petrinja, where Mirela and her sister – both single mothers of three young children – still live with their mother and grandmother. Together, the four women manage a small farm, producing cereals and raising livestock. While it has not been easy to feed the family without male assistance on the farm, they manage.
After a number of years waiting for a proper home, the Božurićs learned that they had been selected for the construction of a new house under the RHP. To their delight, the works soon made rapid progress. “The construction works were quickly completed, the workers were diligent, and our new house was built with good-quality materials” Mirela smiles.
In another twist of fate, the family were finally ready to move into their new home when the earthquake struck, destroying the chimneys. The tremors continued for days, damaging everything in their old house. Fortunately, the chimneys of their new house were quickly repaired with the help of the City of Petrinja, and Mirela and her sister have now begun to buy replacement furniture, confident that they will be able to move into their new home in the coming weeks. “We have already bought two beds for the kids,” says Mirela. “We want to move into our new house as soon as possible – it is much safer because it is so well built. A lot of good and bad things have happened over the years, but we are still alive and well. We would like to thank everyone who helped to make our family home a reality.”
- 29 Apr, 2021
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